If you go to a restaurant and the food or the service is bad, you can write a letter to the manager threatening never to darken his door again.
If a product in the market is bad, you can write to the company and, if they are honorable, they might give you a freebee to replace the faulty item.
Or if you don't like the company's politics or political leanings, you can boycott their product and send them a note saying that until they stop contributing to global warming or supporting administration policies, or pushing formula on Third World mothers which is increasing disease and death of Third World babies, you refuse to buy their product.
If you hate your legislators or your president (not that any of us do, of course), you vote 'em out of office and state why you're going to campaign vigorously for the opponent.
Throughout our lives, we have had the power of the pen, or the purse, or the phone call, or the threat to boycott a product in order to keep the companies with which we must deal in line. Or at least feel good about trying.
But who in the hell do you complain to about the growing number of pop-up ads on television?
It used to be occasionally on cable TV channels. USA was particular egregious, I discovered when watching a Monk marathon. Sooner or later there would be some pop up of Monk down in a corner straightening something and a crawl line which reminded me to watch the next episode.
But now, my god, it's everywhere. You're in the middle of watching an emotional scene on Grey's Anatomy and suddenly there is a pop-up reminding you to watch some comedy or some shoot-em-up detective show.
What's worse, sometimes the pop ups actually cover up something that is important to the scene you are watching. Maybe it's a ploy to get us to watch bigger screen TVs, but my 36"-er is the largest that I can fit into my house, thankyewverymuch.
I don't want little people popping up to interrupt whatever mood I have been enjoying while watching the main show just so I know that there is an even better show coming up.
But how do I make my point? What am I going to do? Threaten to never watch Grey's Anatomy or Monk or House (three of my favorite shows) until the network agrees to remove its pop-up ads?
Not bloody likely.
I'm in a real quandary here and I hope all of you intelligent people can help me out.
To whom do we complain?
What action do we take that doesn't involve giving up television?
Now I know there are people out there who are not TV junkies, as I am. I don't want righteous suggestions about how I could go take a walk or read a book or do any of a number of more worthwhile things other than watch television.
I want it all, dammit (stomping my foot).
I don't want to give up my television, but I want my power back. I want to be able to tell executives that I will hold my breath until they remove those damn pop-up ads and have them pay attention.
I suppose we have to accept part of the blame for the pop-up advertising. Tivo and DVRs have given us the power to zip through commercials for an almost un-interrupted viewing experience and this is the only way networks can make certain that we actually know that there is another episode of Monk coming on or a monster car rally to be shown next week. There's no way you can zip past a commercial if it's part of the show you're watching.
But it doesn't mean I like it, or that I accept it.
In doing research for this entry (yes, I actually sometimes do "research"!) I found an article in the NY Daily News that reports there is an even worse threat looming on the horizon. Now we may start getting, not only the tiny network promos, but actual full blown ads on the bottom of our television screens for movies or actual products. (Can't you imagine a pop-up for Spaghetti-Os during a CSI autopsy of an abdominal cavity?)
We need to rise up and protest, people! You go first...there's a Monk marathon on this afternoon and I'm busy.